Six Mistakes to Avoid After Being Involved in a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident is often a scary and confusing experience, and more so if the wreck involves injuries. In such circumstances, it can be hard to remember all of the things that you should remember to do to protect your ability to recover maximum compensation for your damages.
At Barrister Law Firm, we’ve seen these mistakes time and time again, and we want to give you some important information about avoiding these mistakes:
Not Calling Police – Calling law enforcement may not be an exciting experience for some people, but it is an important step in a car accident. By calling the police, you are getting a neutral authority involved who can take down insurance and other information from the at-fault driver. Typically officers will also draft a formal police crash report, which can serve as a valuable piece of evidence in your personal injury case.
Forgetting to Gather Important Information (TAKE PICTURES!)- Whether you call and wait for the police to arrive, or not, you should gather as much information from the at-fault driver as possible. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the other driver’s insurance card, driver’s license, and license plate. Of course, taking pictures of both cars from different angles is also very helpful. In addition, get names and phone numbers for witnesses to the accident. Lastly, take pictures of yourself and passengers, especially if there were injuries. If you are transported or otherwise end up in the hospital, be sure to have someone take pictures of you in the hospital bed.
Don’t Discuss Who Is At Fault – Conversation about who caused the accident and why it happened should be avoided. Not only do you not know all of the facts about what happened,(especially regarding the other driver’s conduct), you don’t want to risk anything you say being somehow used against you in later settlement negotiations, or in court. Anything that sounds like an admission of liability by you – even something as simple as saying “sorry” – can come back to bite you.
Trusting the Other Driver’s Insurance Company – This is just common sense. The other driver’s insurance adjuster is trying to minimize or completely absolve their insured driver’s liability for causing the accident. They are also trying to pay you as little as possible to resolve the case. NEVER give recorded statements to either the other insurance company or even to your own insurance company. We can give the adjuster a written statement after you’ve had a chance to gather your thoughts and are not still rattled by the accident.
Not Seeking Timely Medical Treatment – You health and well-being should always be your top priority after an accident. Under Florida law, you have to see a physician (it can be in a Walk-in clinic) within 14 days of the date of the accident. I always tell my clients to seek treatment within 10 days so they don’t cut it too close. If you don’t seek treatment within 14 days you will not be entitled to any PIP benefits, which are crucial for treating your injuries. Don’t wait to see if your soreness gets better or worse before deciding to make a doctors visit. Just Go!
Not Listening to Your Doctor – It’s too often that someone who was in an accident will go to a chiropractor, who will do an initial evaluation and recommend a treatment regimen, only for the client to make one or two additional visits and then never return for future treatment. Consistent treatment (avoiding gaps in treatment) is crucial to your bodily injury claim. If you are not happy with your treating physician, then change doctors, but don’t stop going – it can ruin your case (and potentially negatively impact your health). Avoidance of treatment is a sign that you were not injured, or that you recovered from your initial injuries, even when that is not the case.
Remembering all the actions to take can be difficult in the aftermath of a wreck, or impossible if your injuries are serious and require immediate medical attention. No matter what happens following an accident, our firm’s experienced personal injury lawyers can help ensure you take the right steps and have advocates on your side who can handle communication with insurers, conduct investigations, preserve evidence, and build a strong and effective case in pursuit of the compensation you deserve.
Because time is an important element in auto accident cases, we encourage all victims and their families to reach out for the help they need as soon as possible. Call 407-205-2906 to speak personally with Attorney Matt DeBoard on a FREE and confidential case evaluation.